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Deni Avdija selected by Wizards with No. 9 pick

Deni Avdija, Wizards

The Washington Wizards have selected Israeli guard Deni Avdija with the No. 9 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.

Deni Avdija garnered international recognition while playing for Maccabi Tel Aviv of the Israeli Basketball Premier League and the EuroLeague. He led the team to three Israeli League championships, and by most accounts, he is the No. 1 international prospect in this year’s class.

For the 2019-20 campaign of Israeli League play, the 6-9 wing averaged 13.5 points on 55.0 percent shooting (38.7 percent from beyond the arc), 6.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists and just under one block (0.9) per game.

In recognition of his outstanding play, Avdija was named the MVP of the Israeli League. The 19-year-old became the youngest player ever to ever take home the award, and he was also named the “Israeli Player of the Year.”

NBA scouts have been keeping an eye on Avdija’s progress for quite a while, and rightfully so. He has the size of a power forward, but he also has great ball-handling skills. His strengths include defensive toughness, a will to attack the glass, and heaps of confidence. He also has a high-release jumper that is very difficult to defend. And if there is an open man waiting for the rock, he often finds him.

However, there are a few issues that will need to be addressed. Avdija knocked down just 28 percent of his threes in the Euroleague last season and 29 percent in his last two FIBA European Champions. And as Eric Fawcett pointed out in a recent scouting report for NBA.com, Avdija only shot 60 percent from the free-throw line last season.

All things considered, Avidja has a lot of upside, and he should be a fine acquisition for the —–. Let’s see how he fares going forward.